“If life hands you a lemon, make some lemonade”. I don’t know about you, but when I’m going through a rough spot in life, the last thing I want to hear is someone telling me to “take that ol’ lemon and make some lemonade.” Instead of proverbs, I would rather have comfort.
That’s what Job was hoping for when lemons entered his life. To his three erstwhile friends after they gave him their third degree treatment he said, “Miserable comforters are you all!” (Job 16:2). In fact one of the lines of argument from his “friend” Eliphaz was to just cheer up. Good things can come of this if you take these lemons and make some lemonade (Job 4:1-9).
Job was not comforted by such comments, and I doubt most of us would be.
And yet there is something to be said about having trials in life. We might not understand them, but as James says, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith works patience” (James 1:2,3). Tough times can build something that easy times cannot.
The adventures of Joseph in the Old Testament begins with a description of a rather arrogant young man, his Dad’s favorite kid, who likes to taunt his older brothers with revelations about his own greatness, while tattling to Dad about their antics.
The brothers seize the opportunity to get him out of their lives by selling him into slavery, but resourceful fellow that he is, Joseph does quite well for himself even in slavery, until one day he finds himself in the dungeon through no fault of his own.
Life handed him some verifiable lemons, and even though we are not told he was discouraged, we can certainly guess that he was.
But as the story unfolds, we learn that the events in Joseph’s life were in fact a part of a grand Divine plan. Joseph arises from prison and slavery with a new level of maturity and high responsibility. His wisdom and skills save Egypt from starvation, and along with it he saves other nations as well.
Even his own estranged family is saved from extinction through Joseph.
Joseph’s words to his brothers after their reconciliation tell us something about lemons and lemonade: “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20)
And this is the real question behind the lemons to lemonade story. Notice the way Joseph phrases his statement. “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good.” Put differently. “You thought you handed me a lemon, but God used it to make lemonade.”
Life hands you a lemon? You can try to make it into lemonade if you wish, but Joseph gives us a better alternative. Let God use the lemon to make lemonade. God loves making lemonade.